By Alison Bedford, Head of Early Years Campus, Bromsgrove International School Thailand
It is hard to put into words what describes a ‘safe’ school. The best way to describe it is the feeling you get when you walk through the door. A safe school is one where the warmth and care is felt the moment you arrive at the school gate; where staff greet you with a genuine smile on their face, where you experience an outstanding level of home school communication and where parents feel that the Head of Campus is always available to discuss your child’s individual needs. This is in addition to the more obvious indicators of high quality play and teaching resources, with a clean and well maintained campus environment and of course the most important indicator of the presence of happy children learning every day!
At Bromsgrove we are very proud of our very safe and friendly campus and during our recent external Education Trust Inspection (EDT Nov 2019) our UK school inspector reported Bromsgrove to be a school where:
“Warm and supportive relationships between the teachers and their students create a positive and encouraging learning environment where all students can flourish”.
Schools must consider many factors in ensuring that they have created a truly ‘safe’ school, especially for our youngest and most vulnerable students. At Bromsgrove we have created light and airy indoor and outdoor learning spaces for the children to enjoy and engage with their free flow learning.
Over recent years, Bromsgrove has invested over 30 million Thai Baht to renovate both the Early Years and Windsor Park campus by removing many internal walls with the specific desire to create open learning spaces with large windows adjoining the corridors.
We employ a professional security team as well utilizing CCTV in all public areas on the campus. This provision is to ensure that our campus is kept safe and secure from the outside world. When parents drop their child to school they want to feel reassured that their child is safe and that they know both the campus and the staff provide a secure environment for their child to thrive. Parents are able to focus on their day’s tasks with peace of mind that their child is safe.
In addition to this, schools must regularly risk-assess their campus environment, school activities as well as school trips to ensure they are satisfied with the service they provide to their school community.
It is essential at Bromsgrove that all staff undertake annual safeguarding training to ensure they are familiar with the schools safeguarding policy and procedures along with expatriate teaching staff completing additional UK courses. It is vital that the whole school community is updated with changes to child welfare regulations and to ensure that all staff understand how important their role is in keeping our children safe.
At Bromsgrove our CEO, Dr Dan Moore takes safer recruitment of both local and international teachers and staff exceptionally seriously, as should all school leaders! Recruitment of staff across all sectors of the school is a very rigorous process. It is vital as part of a schools ‘Safe’ recruitment policy that strict procedures of reference checking, police clearance in both home country as well as Thailand is conducted (as well as all UK citizens having to obtain an ICPC – International Child Protection Certificate) as well as authentication of all qualifications.
Along with physical and practical features, a safe campus is built on excellent relationships between teachers, children and parents . A school where mutual respect and support is nurtured and a positive environment is present to maximise the children’s learning.
At Bromsgrove we ensure that our learning environments are welcoming and inviting so that your child feels comfortable, safe and secure to explore, discover and make learning choices.
We believe that a good partnership with parents is essential for a successful educational journey. We have an open door policy for parents to ask questions, we run weekly coffee mornings/ workshops to educate parents, we have termly reports as well as parent teacher conferences. We strive to work with both children and families to ensure they gain the most from their educational experience.
In addition, a ‘safe’ school is built upon positive relationships where students demonstrate high levels of self-discipline and their behaviour is excellent throughout the school day. A school where children are encouraged to be brave and determined, to take risks but also be able to show kindness and respect to those around them. We are very proud at Bromsgrove to celebrate our positive behaviour management as well as our Bromsgrove Learner profile which is embedded in all that we do (our 8 Learner Profiles are Positivity, Determined, Kindness, Team work, Independence, Reflective, Curious, Risk taking)
As we are an Early Years campus, our children are at the stage that they are only just beginning to develop their awareness of the cause and effect or how to adjust actions or the decisions they make. We support our children’s development through self reflection and self regulation of expected and unexpected behavior and guide the children using positive communication and reinforcements such as lots of praise and use of Learner Profile.
The Bromsgrove Early Years Campus is a place where children have a memorable and positive start to their educational journey. We believe it is the early years, from the ages of two to six, when the educational foundations are laid for everything that follows. Very young children are curious and enthusiastic; they are learning to learn. Our aim is to harness these qualities in an active, stimulating, happy and secure environment. We nurture children to become confident, well prepared and highly motivated learners who will go on to achieve the very best for themselves. At the same time, we help them to develop with good manners, self discipline, honesty and consideration for others, working and playing in a positive and rewarding way. The friendly, secure family atmosphere of the school encourages children to become independent learners and caring members of our community.
We follow the British Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum. The curriculum is designed to build strong foundations for which the children can successfully develop their lifelong learning. Our teachers ensure the children are stimulated and developed through ‘active learning’, ’play and exploring’ and ‘creative and critical thinking’. The 3 EYFS prime areas which are essential for all other learning to be built upon are: Communication & Language, Personal, Social & Emotional Development and Physical Development (both fine and gross motor skills).
Once these 3 areas are truly embedded the additional learning areas of Mathematics, Literacy, Understanding the World and Expressive Arts and Design are explored in greater depth. Our young students also learn through exploration, singing, dancing, running, climbing, cutting, mixing, creating, role play, mark making, counting, sharing and so much more!
Academic, physical, social and emotional development are all interconnected, hence our phrase “happy children learn”. Our school has established outstanding relationships, systems and expectations where all children are encouraged to strive to achieve their best and learn from the decisions that they make.
Our daily morning line up and assembly encourages a sense of community and team ethos, our learner profile allows our children to develop beyond the curriculum, our house systems embeds pride, friendship, teamwork and strong pastoral support and well as our use of expected behaviour allowing our children to make the right choices, show mutual respect as well as reflect upon the decisions they have made.
We were delighted that our Bromsgrove EDT inspection team (Nov 2019) highlighted:
‘The extremely rigorous and comprehensive safeguarding measures in place to protect all students and promote their welfare, health and safety’.
The best question that all Headteachers and Principals should ask themselves “Is this good enough for my child”?